I am deeply saddened by how enslaved we remain. How we fail to see that our biggest prisons are not the ones we build, but the ones we create in our own minds.
Colorism is prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. Many would think this would not necessarily be an issue in Africa but with the growing popularity for skin lightening products, it is safe to assume that there is a preference for lighter skin.
Growing up it didn’t take long for me to hear comments about my dark skin from friends and family. Nothing harsh but it was just stressed that I was dark. Now that I am older, I’m constantly confronted by what society deems beautiful. That somehow my dark complexion is the basis for disqualification, whether it is a relationship or simply the criteria for how I am to be treated. Having to constantly hear people praise “yellow bones” and that being anything else was just unfortunate. Suddenly the way I viewed myself was conditional. So I focused on the things I could change, thinking it would hide what I couldn’t. Any genuine interest in me was overshadowed by self doubt, only leading to the safe space that is the #friendzone. Feelings of resentment began to creep in for those, that I believed , met the ideal. You see in my messed-up way of thinking, they had access to a place that had no place for me.
One day I saw a documentary on skin lightening and voiced my outcry publicly while hiding my shame that I too shared their thoughts. The reality is you can tell women, men or even children of the harmful effects of using these products, but until they confront the root cause, the perceived rewards of these products will always outweigh the risks. It was then I decided to love myself on purpose. To not seek permission or approval to say I am beautiful. That God created me so He has already qualified me. When I began to love myself, I was free to love others without jealousy or resentment.
Now I believe in celebrating ‘You’. That the beauty of humanity is not just in our similarities but it shines through in our differences. To realise being proud of who you are and where you come from, doesn’t make you better or less than anyone else. However there is an important point that is often missed. The reason you love and are proud of yourself cannot be imposed on anyone else. You don’t get to define someone else’s self worth. We are all beautiful.
So beautiful people, let me reintroduce myself.
I am a beautifully and wonderful made, melanin rich TrueSoulQueen. My skin has been blessed by the African sun, and my feet dusted by the African sand. I walk in power and authority without permission or apology. I am a woman. I Am Beautiful. I am free.
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”